Robert grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2004 when he was nine years old. He lived in Lincoln until his sophomore year of high school when he and his family moved to Columbus, Ohio, for his dad’s job. He finished out high school in Columbus and attended the University of Toledo. Robert then transferred to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Strategic Communication with a focus in Marketing and Public Relations.
It was the Spring of 2016 when he received a call from a connection back in Lincoln, asking him if he would be interested in an internship at Duncan Aviation for the summer.
“I had never really thought of aviation as a career path for me,” said Robert. “NetJets is based in Columbus where I lived, so I had seen them at career fairs and knew a little bit about the industry.”
Robert moved back to Lincoln for the summer to be a Human Resources Intern, where he helped coordinate Duncan Aviation’s 60th Anniversary celebration at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.
“That summer was a lot of event planning, data entry, and filing,” said Robert. “I quickly grew to love the company and the people here. It was a great experience for me.”
Once the summer was over, he moved back to Oxford for his senior year of college.
When summer rolled around, he accepted another position at Duncan Aviation as a Parts & Rotables Sales Assistant in May of 2017. He spent the next four months verifying part numbers, ensuring they matched up with what was in inventory. Robert quickly found out it wasn’t something he enjoyed, but enjoyed the opportunity to learn about a different side of the business. Once summer was over, he moved back for a semester to finish up his degree.
After graduating, Robert moved to Lincoln and was offered the role of Professional Development Training (PDT) and Safety Helper. After 18 months, he was promoted to a Professional Development Training Specialist where he spent the next three years tracking, sourcing, and sending team members to mandatory and nonmandatory training through Authorized Service Center contracts with major OEMs.
“I worked a lot with managers and team leaders to select team members who would be the best investment to send to different training classes,” said Robert. “Duncan Aviation takes pride in how much they invest in team members so it was a rewarding part of being in the training department.”
Then in 2020, the pandemic hit and he had to get creative.
“Although Duncan Aviation never laid anyone off turning the pandemic, we still were worried about our roles, so all of us in PDT had to get creative,” said Robert. “Plus, we weren’t sending many team members to training courses during that time.”
Robert suited up in a hazmat suit and respirator, and spent his days assisting the Facilities and Interior teams with fogging aircraft when they arrived at our facility because every aircraft that arrived had to be fogged to rid the interior of any lingering viruses. He got certified, and helped create a curriculum on how to use the fogging machines.
“It was a great learning experience,” said Robert. “It was an opportunity to add value at a time when there were so many unknowns.”
Robert was then ready to explore a new role within the company.
“Because the Duncan Aviation Senior Management Team has an open-door policy, I took advantage of that and went around asking for advice on how I could grow into a sales role,” explained Robert. “I found out the Aircraft Sales & Acquisitions team was expanding and thought that would be an excellent new challenge to take on.”
Robert applied for the Aircraft Sales & Acquisitions Market Research Analyst position in July of 2021 and was accepted. He spent the next year and a half tracking core aircraft markets, creating marketing campaigns, and assisting in the buying and selling of aircraft with the brokers.
He got to experience first-hand what a day in the life was like for the sales reps and thought it was unique and something he could work toward.
Then, he took his biggest leap yet. Robert made the jump from analyst to full-time Aircraft Sales & Acquisitions Sales Representative.
“Working in my previous roles in training and as a Market Research Analyst prepared me best to become a full-time broker,” explained Robert. “Having the knowledge on pilot type ratings, core aircraft specifications, maintenance intervals and working at Duncan Aviation and leveraging internal relationships has given me the overall confidence and passion to pivot into my current role.”
While Robert was a Parts & Rotables Assistant, he was approached about getting his private pilot’s license.
“I was talking with Todd Duncan one day, and he suggested I look into learning how to fly,” said Robert. “Todd has always been a big advocate about getting people to fly and the benefits of it, so I decided to take advantage of the Private Pilot’s License reimbursement Duncan Aviation offers to full-time team members.”
Robert took Todd up on his offer, and began pilot training a few times per week with the local flight training school in Lincoln. He earned his Private Pilot’s License in 2019, and Instrument Rating in 2020.
“I fell in love with flying,” said Robert. “When you’re flying, it’s your only focus. There are no distractions because you’re only focused on the task at hand. Once you’re at the cruise component of flight, you can finally take a breath and take in the views. The views are what keep me coming back.”
Robert says the process wasn’t easy or cheap, but it helps him in his current role to connect with others within the industry.
Robert’s favorite part about working at Duncan Aviation is the atmosphere.
“How many people in a small college town such as Lincoln can say they get to work in a hangar full of multi-million-dollar private jets?” asked Robert. “It’s such a unique work environment and something not many people get to experience.”
Robert also said he has met several people at work who are genuine, and they spend time after work hours hanging out. He also applauds the Duncan family for how much they care about their team members and how they empower each and every one to do their jobs to the best of their ability, and how much they give back to the community.
Robert went on to say there are endless opportunities within the aviation industry, not just as a pilot.
“Before I started at Duncan Aviation, I was like most people and thought the only way to get into the aviation industry was becoming a pilot,” said Robert. “That is far from the truth. There are so many different career paths you can take that each offer unique and rewarding careers. You could manage an airport, be a flight attendant, or dispatcher, or fuel aircraft, or work on engines, or stitch seats.”
Robert said the best way to get perspective on life is to travel.
“There is so much to experience in this world, and traveling is the best way to do that,” said Robert. “Aviation in general is based around travel, so it’s the perfect place for me.”